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DOG COMMENTARY:

Western Pennsylvania with the Pittsburgh Tri-State area (including parts of Northern West Virginia and Eastern Ohio)….along with the entire state of Texas….a big place…..are known to be football hotbeds at all levels.  When Bone Daddy was in high school (1961 – 1965)….one of the biggest rivalries in high school football was The Big 33 Game….which pitted the best 33 players in the State of Texas…..against the best 33 player of the State of Pennsylvania…..as both States draw crowds in the tens of thousands….while getting regular press coverage in both regions. The local communities in both regions usually shut down local businesses for these games….which also serve as the largest social gathering for many of these communities….cuz that’s the way it was in the whole of West Texas….from Monahans to Sweetwater to Abilene to Odessa to Alpine to No Trees to Midland (where BD grew up)…..as almost every main street of each of those town in West Texas……would be shut down on Friday nights.

College football’s popularity in both States….have produced powerhouse football teams. Four of the ten Big 12 Conference schools are located in Texas….Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas and TCU….while the Pitt Panthers, Penn State Nittany Lions and West Virginia Mountaineers are in the Pittsburgh Tri-State Region….with many fans of the nearby Ohio State Buckeyes residing in the area. In addition to these traditional powers….during the birth of the college game….the Pittsburgh city schools of Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University and Washington & Jefferson College….all qualified for multiple major-bowls in the 1910’s through the 1940’s….and annually ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press…while in Texas the Longhorns had at least one player selected in each of 75+ straight NFL Drafts dating back to 1938,…while Penn State itself had a 53-year draft streak that ended in 2005.

Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman Ernie Stautner played his entire 14-year career with the Steelers….later serving as defensive coordinator under Cowboys head coach and fellow Hall of Famer Tom Landry…..during the Cowboys successful run in the 1970’s.  The Cowboys would later draft another Hall of Famer, Tony Dorsett, the Pitt standout and Heisman Trophy winner….and native of the Pittsburgh suburb of Hopewell Township.  Both of the Cowboys 1970’s Super Bowl MVP’s….Chuck Howley and Randy White….hail from the Pittsburgh Tri-State….along with Super Bowls V and VI Cowboys star Mike Ditka.  Conversely, two members of the Steelers’ famed Steel Curtain defensive line (Ernie Holmes and “Mean Joe” Greene) are Texas natives….as is former Steelers Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton (Hook um Horns)….as well as the player that Chuck Noll chose in front of Dan Marino during the 1983 NFL Draft….Gabriel Rivera….plus former Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey served as offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh….before becoming the head coach of the Cowboys for two years in the late 1990’s.

There have also been demographic shifts in both regions that have contributed to Pittsburgh fans living in Dallas….and Dallas fans living in Pittsburgh. During the 1980’s the Pittsburgh region was hit hard by the decline and closure of many steel mills and related industries in the region….so, many left the region to find work elsewhere, including Texas…and since this was shortly after the Super Bowl teams of the 70’s….fan allegiance to the Steelers naturally stayed strong….thus the beginnings of Steeler Nation. On the other hand….in the mid-2000’s the reverse happened….as Marcellus Shale drilling in the Pittsburgh metropolitan region brought a significant influx of Texans to the region….due to the expertise needed to drill wells and related personnel originally from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Today there are significant numbers of persons living in the Dallas Metroplex and Houston…both “oil business cities”….that were born and raised in the Pittsburgh region….as well as significant numbers of North Texans living in the southern and western areas of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan region

Football runs deep in the places where the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers come from…..for football is King where these teams reside.

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